09 Jan 2016
I Still Won on the Inside… 2016 FTC Qualifier at Wylie
By Jayesh, Omar, Darshan, Max, Tycho, Evan, Ethan, Alisa, Caitlin, Trace, and Dylan
Just as in previous years, Iron Reign set off about half an hour late. We REALLY need to get everything not directly on the robot printed, boxed up, and loaded the night before - at the latest. Now that we have 11 members, we needed another person to help carpool, and Jayesh’s dad was thankfully willing to help.
(note from omar: we definitely did not get lost on the way there)
When we arrived at the competition we set up shop behind Imperial Robotics, our sister team, and plugged in our battery box in the power strip in the back. It was frustratingly far away, but at least it kept all our stuff in one spot without having to use multiple outlets.
This was the first year that we as a team really took scouting seriously. Taking advice from FTC Robotics Tips, Tricks, Strategies, and Secrets, we created an Excel spreadsheet with rows for each team and columns for strengths and weaknesses in TeleOp and automonous. This allowed us to effectively gauge the strengths and weaknesses of other teams, whether opponents or partners. When we first arrived Dylan, Alisa, and Evan walked around and " interviewed " teams in the pits, distributing our fliers and taking notes. The scouts split into two groups to make the process more efficient, and effectively turned it into a game, seeing who could cover the most ground.
By taking notes on previous matches, we were able to predict the outcome of our first match and the reasoning behind it.
Mechanical and Software progress
Due to a dead servo that we detected just before our first match, we spent most of our pit repair and testing time focused on our cliff climbing mechanism. Because of a lack of testing the night before, we failed to notice that our aiming servo for our tape measure wasn’t working, and probably hadn’t been for a day or two. Unfortunately we only had one extra servo with us, one that had a different internal range than the other. Our initial angle in our programming was fine, but the next preset value was off. We spent most of our available time tuning and fixing this problem, as it was, and still is, our main focus in tele-op point wise.
We didn’t really attempt even the most basic autonomous. Earlier we have had issues with the robot driving backwards when testing, even after switching signs multiple times. Because we weren’t sure how the robot would react, or if it would at all, we decided to play it safe. The field debris can pose a real danger to our tank tread system, since neither our cow-catcher nor side shields were on. We used a long tetrix piece as a front guard, but we didn’t really trust it enough for autonomous since it bent badly even when pushing only a couple of blocks.
Discovered that the servo that controlled our Cliff Hanger’s (tape measure) elevation was not working. So we were completely unable to climb. At first our teleop program didn’t start - there was pop-up on our phone screen and we were not allowed to touch it. Thankfully a FIRST official reached in and restarted our robot, and we were able to move around after losing about 30 seconds. It was very hard to move around because our plough was detached. Mostly the value of this match was in discovering the problems with the Cliff Hanger servo. (Which should have been detected and replaced the night before)
We weren’t able to reattach our climber mechanism, which meant that we were pretty useless, and our ally robot disconnected, resulting in a loss.
We were able to get the climber on and actually reached the mid zone, however our ally robot disconnected (see a pattern here?) and the enemy scored more blocks than us.
Robot decided to turn off and we only won because some of the debris landed in our field boxes and less landed in theirs. Lady luck smiled upon us. We really needed a win and this was a much needed victory to restore our pre-match cred. Thank you whatever force gave us that win.
All the robots' systems on the field failed to work in this bizarre match, where our roll with the debris secured us a low-scoring 5-0 win.
Before/During Finals Alliance Selection
Our scouts managed to do some fantastic work during alliance selection, nailing us two very solid teammates, one of whom was first seed. However, during the time that this was happening, one of our drivers had been practicing climbing the ramp when the robot fell down the incline on its side, shattering one of its tracks. Thankfully some extra was lent to us, and the problem was fixed quickly.
SemiFinal Match 1
This was the match that everything that we hoped to achieve in the game came to fruition. The robot was able to line up with the back ramp and get to the high zone. With the points from our alliance, we scored the highest amount of points in the tournament, securing us a place in the finals.
Final Match 1
Near the beginning of our first final match, an enemy robot turned its decently sharp corner into the side of our robot, breaking a tread and rendering us relatively useless during the rest of the match. Although disabled, our driver managed to limp the robot onto the mountain with the tape
measure for some small points, which helped us win the match.
Final Match 2
We did not participate in this match; our two alliance partners did. Unfortunately, they experienced some technical difficulties during the match, and were not able to win, making the series tied 1 to 1.
Finals Match 3
This match did not go well for anyone. Beginning the match, one side of the robot began to run by itself, a known problem that we've had in the past.
The way to fix it would have been to disconnect the controller from the phone, and reconnect it. However, this would not have been allowed, so our driver tried to deal with it. Unfortunately, control was lost after a while, and the robot disconnected at the very moment we had accidentally parked
in front of the enemy's ramp, giving them serious penalty points. Our alliance partner had also encountered problems and could only perform similarly to us, which was doing nearly nothing. The enemy alliance won this match and earned their spot as first place.
At this point we had just lost the finals and most of the team was just downright depressed. We did receive an award for second place alliance but that didn’t mean we would advance to regionals. We also won the PTC Design award (kudos to Max and Tycho for doing basically everything). Thankfully, our two alliance partners were high enough in points that they advanced to the regionals despite us losing.